By Maria Rodriguez
Peter Shoemaker, PhD, Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Studies as well as the Director of the University Honors Program, will depart Catholic University at the end of the semester.
Shoemaker, a specialist in early modern French literature and culture, has been with the University since 2000. After being promoted to Associate Professor and winning the Provost’s award for Excellence in Teaching in 2007, Shoemaker was appointed Director of the Honors Program in 2010. In 2012 Shoemaker also began to serve as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs, and after two years was made Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Studies.
Shoemaker has accepted a new position as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey. Seton Hall, founded by its namesake St. Elizabeth Anne Seton’s nephew, is a private Catholic university. Seton Hall University was founded in 1856, which makes it 31 years older than Catholic University and the oldest diocesan university in the United States.
University Provost, Andrew V. Abela, Ph. D. announced the news to the campus community in an email on Monday, April 11th. Shoemaker sent out his own announcement directly to all honors students the same day.
“It goes without saying that I will miss all of you terribly, along with the moments that we have shared together: the dinners, the hikes, the excursions into the city, and (most of all) the conversations,” said Shoemaker in the email to University honors students.
“Without question, my greatest joy at CUA has been working with honors students—from the groups that I took to Paris with Dr. Nora Heimann from 2002-2008 to the latest, remarkable group of seniors in my honors capstone seminar this spring,” Shoemaker said.
Those who encountered Shoemaker in his courses speak highly of the experience. Some of the dearest memories remain with students who took his yearly Honors Capstone seminar offered each spring semester to seniors who have completed at least one honors track.
The seniors from his last Honors capstone shared memories and admirations of that class and of Shoemaker.
“In our capstone, he juggles the opinions of philosophers and business majors, English bibliophiles and scientific minds, with effortless grace, leading discussions on questions cutting to the heart of the human experience,” said Evan Wescott, senior math and theology double major.
“My favorite memories are the Capstone Seminar classes where he bought us all dinner and we got to eat together while having conversations about the readings. It felt more like a meal with friends than a class,” said Alli Gliot, senior theology major.
“I didn’t know him until my senior year, but since that time he has become one of my favorite CUA professors (despite his tendency to assign very long readings),” Gliot said. “He’s always quick to provide feedback and is excellent about good-humoredly following our class down the rabbit holes we inevitably end up in during all our discussions. He has guided me to be a better scholar and encouraged me to be passionate about learning for its own sake, introducing me to topics in subject areas I never would have thought to look into on my own accord.”
In addition to teaching the yearly Honors Capstone seminar for seniors, Shoemaker also acted as an advisor for honors upperclassmen.
Rebecca Hoffman, graduate student in the School of Library Science and current Honors Fellow who graduated Catholic University in 2015 with a B.A. in French also shared memories of working with Shoemaker.
“As a mentor and adviser, he worked with me to identify how I could draw connections between my French courses, Honors tracks, and research projects to forge a successful career path,” Hoffman said.
“Dr Shoemaker has been an important guide to me and countless other Honors students throughout my time here at Catholic, and I’m fortunate to have had him here for all four years of my undergraduate career. I’m sure that his quirky, animating presence will be missed,” said Isaac Kimmel, senior philosophy major.